Strong Arctic winds have swept across north central Minnesota letting everyone know that old man winter is beginning to crank up for his journey south.
While the bone-chilling winds howl winter’s soon arrival, folks are beginning to think about caulking around windows and doors, adding more insulation in the attic and battening down the hatches for what we all know lies ahead.
Well, we may know from experience what lies ahead if we have a typical Minnesota winter. But we may not have been watching the price of heating oil or natural gas. Yes, oil has been trending higher. But heating oil hit $3.25 a gallon in September before dropping to $3.07 in early October. As of Oct. 11, heating oil was heading, you guessed it, higher. It was just a tick over $3.32 at 1:30 p.m. CDT.
Not many folks warm the corners of their homes with heating oil, but a majority have converted to natural gas, which has retreated from near $3.45 earlier this month, but as of Oct. 11 it was heading north again from $3.40, closing at $3.98 per million BTUs.
What’s a person to do?
Wages are lower, jobs as scarce as hen’s teeth, and more and more people are turning to the government for assistance to put food on the table.
Well, many folks may find it necessary to reach out for help this winter to heat their homes. Utilities do work with homeowners, establishing budget plans for heating oil, natural gas and electricity.
Keep an eye on firing up your heating source, whether it’s gas or oil, wood or electric. These units may not have been running smoothly at the end of last year’s heating season and repairs or tune-ups may have been put off last spring. check them before using them. Keep a sharp eye on your carbon monoxide monitor — check your battery and be sure the home has a working smoke alarm.
Bottom line: Expect to pay more to stay warm and batten down the hatches. Winter’s just around the corner.